Friday, January 14, 2011

Here we go again....

New school year... new set of students. Well, actually it's slightly more than half of them are new to me this year. Am thankful for that. I dread new students... it means getting into the grind and very often getting stuck in the rut of 'acclimatizing' these 'new' kids to my set of 'rules and regulations'.

And no matter how nicely I put it to the new kids that I want things done certain ways... e.g. work passed up on time, neat handwriting, corrections, make attempts to answer on their own... A good part of the next few months will be spent getting all these 'nitty gritty that should have been ingrained when they were in primary stuff' into my order....

Neat handwriting... it's horrifying how horribly many kids write these days.... and I've not even gone into the language itself. They don't seem to remember that they need to write the dates or make sure that their writing is legible. It's only 2 weeks and the old reality has hit me squarely on my face again. No amount of advice, cajoling will get them to do things properly.... but put a little discomfort and fear, things will begin to get rolling faster. And they say we teachers cannot punish kids these days... I think a little 'punishment' helps.... but who am I to go against all the psychologists??? *sigh*

Corrections... the only form of punishment left these days is to have them sit on the floor for corrections not done. None wants to sit on the floor cos it's dusty but at every beginning of the year, scores of them would get invited to my honoured place. It's just not in their system to do corrections. I wonder whether the primary school teachers made them do it.... it's actually very tiring to go through every single exercise book but it's something necessary.

Attempts to answer on their own.... this is where I'd wring my hands, often in despair. Work done to many of these kids means they are done copying, not answering on their own, mind you. I even had a kid bringing his completed copied work to me for marking.... blanks left unfilled. I sent him back to his seat promptly, raised my voice and told the class that I expect them to answer the questions themselves. There were many looks of surprise! I don't know whether it's because they're just not that used to doing work on their own.

Exercises in class... I grade them and send them back to them for corrections. And then I will check their books again to make sure the corrections are duly completed and marked again. But every year, I'd have hordes of non-compliant students. The floor space in front of the class is always occupied.

Unlike my old students... those whom I follow up from previous year; we've a better understanding. I waste less time chasing them for these little things...

...which brings me back to the same point. If these kids do their corrections, complete their work at the appointed time because they know I expect them to... or else the floor awaits them, how is it that my 'new' students don't have that same practice? It makes me wonder whether the teachers who taught them in the previous years expected anything of them.. or that the kids have learned through experience that if they push it long and hard enough, they're most likely to get away.... which also means that the ethics that once teachers had are now being eroded.

Good habits must be formed from young. Often it's not the work that matters in the end but the process of getting the work done that provides training of character, determination, discipline, commitment, responsibility, etc, etc. We're more concerned with just something to show these days without paying much attention to the building up of a life.... my two sen today cos I've just had a torrid week going through the exercise books.

Next week will be a week of chasing these kids.... for corrections, writing, etc, etc... here I go again. Year in, year out; same thing. But of late I feel that it has gotten worse..... kids seem more 'blanked' or spaced out these days... dumbing down??? By our education, social and political systems??? Beats me... more technologically advance but not any smarter... seems smarter but lacks all the character... basically dumbed down.

5 comments:

Dino said...

Can a teacher cane students these days? Last time, Mr.Ling Keng Neo just show his face, all sked already. LOL!!! Need to call him up one of these days again.

Keats The Sunshine Girl said...

I'm glad a teacher like you is in our midst. Not only do subjects have to be taught, much character building and discipline will ensure that the youths of today are a worthy lot tomorrow.

AJ7 said...

Keats: Thanks but I think I still fall short when I compare myself to my own teachers.

Dino: Nope... cannot cane. These days, they promote keprihatinan... you cane, you might find yourself on a legal tightrope. Like I said a little fear of something might actually be good. Spare the rod spoil the child... well, we're spoiling the children. Even us adults fear the reach of the laws... else why do we not beat the red light, overtake at double lines, keep to the speed limit when we know there is a camera on duty. To attain that level of high civic mindedness requires so many other things to be in place first... and one of them is the fear of something. After all, an old saying from the Bible... the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.

SM Ting said...

Keep it up....it's teachers like you that we need in school but teachers like you who will not get the promotion and what have you!!

We just had a teacher promoted...he lost the students' folios, didn't key in the marks on time and screwed up the whole system, students sent in complaints about him .. but so what? He got the promotion; now he's the boss!

But we shall not lose heart, this is our calling and we answer to God.

All Things Beautiful said...

Students copying their friends' work is very common indeed. A few years back, one of my students took it even further. She photostated her friend's homework to pass up as her own! I wish I remember what I did to her!!!